Two I called mother— one of them birthed me, two of them raised me. When I look around today, I realize it’s not as uncommon as I once thought.

But: two pairs of arms, two sets of fingers, two hearts, two histories, two lullabies, two tongues— how could it not be complicated?

One threw whole sticks of butter into the pots and mixing bowls: cake, spaghetti sauce, it didn’t matter.

One carefully quartered pieces of chicken, stripped tendon to bone, counting out meals and measuring cups of grain in advance.

One whipped egg whites to perfect foam, picked fish of guts and littered bone.

How many loves, how many heartbreaks, how many triumphs and regrets?

And is it any wonder that today, I prefer savory over sweet, unruliness of bramble, tumble and surprise of wild flowers?

No need to pass the salt and pepper for they have taught me the language of laurel, eucalyptus, ginger, star anise.

And I did not know then but now I do— Because this road is long, they’ve stamped their tinctures of herb and camphor on all the stations of my body; and their fragrant signatures on my brow and on my hands.


In response to Via Negativa: Mom at 36.

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